A perfect storm is developing, according to research firm Gartner. Four hugely disruptive technology trends are converging, bringing change and opportunity to the way businesses operate, and restructuring the IT industry as a whole.
Gartner calls this the “Nexus of Forces”. It sounds like a old-style superhero, but it actually refers to four distinct yet increasingly intertwined technological trends: social, mobile, cloud computing and information:
Social. Social is the most accessible of the four Nexus forces. Most people are familiar with consumer social media services, such as Facebook and Twitter. The popularity and widespread adoption of social drives the need for the other three Nexus forces and feeds them with content and context.
Mobile. Mobile computing is disruptive on its own. Taken in combination with social, cloud, and information, a revolution is afoot.
Information. Analysis of new information driven by cloud, social and mobile will be critical to the successful exploitation of the Nexus of Forces.
Cloud. The cloud is the glue that holds this Nexus together.
Research over the past several years has identified the independent evolution of four powerful forces: social, mobile, cloud and information. As a result of consumerization and the ubiquity of connected smart devices, people’s behavior has caused a convergence of these forces.
In the Nexus of Forces, information is the context for delivering enhanced social and mobile experiences. Mobile devices are a platform for effective social networking and new ways of work. Social links people to their work and each other in new and unexpected ways. Cloud enables delivery of information and functionality to users and systems. The forces of the Nexus are intertwined to create a user-driven ecosystem of modern computing.
This user-centric convergence [is] a warning to senior IT leaders: Their existing architectures are becoming obsolete.
SAP has intensively covered the disruption from Mobile, Cloud, and Information.
But this year’s SAPPHIRE NOW conference in Madrid will be the first to cover the full Nexus of Forces, by filling out the cloud story, and adding more substantial social strategy. This is due to to the completion of the acquisition of Ariba, bringing new models of business-to-business collaboration, and the announcement of SAP’s social software strategy based on SAP Jam.
At this conference, we can look forward to keynotes that tell the entire end-to-end story of how SAP will help customers with the opportunities and challenges of the the Nexus Forces outlined by Gartner:
Leading companies are taking advantage of Nexus dynamics to create innovative products and services, reaching new customers in new contexts. These companies understand the subtle relationships between behavior, sentiment, history, location and intention and are able to adjust to the prevailing winds without uprooting business models and system architectures.
Traditional companies struggle with this adaptivity, both from a business and IT perspective (indeed, IT is often part of the problem because it may keep an organization from capitalizing on new opportunities). Whether it be vendors, end users, private companies, governments, hospitals or universities, all organizations that produce or consume IT are affected by the Nexus of Forces, and they need to choose how they will respond.
Gartner predicts that:
Tools will continue to improve, and access to information will grow wider and deeper. Technocentrism gives way to human-centered design. People will become even more sophisticated consumers and co-creators of technology and content. They will share their experiences and preferences, leading to broad adoption at an accelerating pace.
To support the fluid dynamics of the Nexus of Forces, providers of technology will have to get comfortable with a new complexion of control, one where autonomy is provided against a nonintrusive foundation of revitalized infrastructure and operational systems and processes.
InnoJam, part of SAP TechEd, co-hosted with SAPPHIRE NOW in Madrid, is a great example of how leading-edge organizations are using new design-thinking-centric approaches to create the solutions of tomorrow, using the full range of social, mobile, information, and cloud technologies.